Once you settle into the realization that this 1986 John Carpenter (Halloween) film is not going to be one of the director's more masterful works, Big Trouble in Little China just becomes a full-tilt comic blast. Kurt Russ... more »ell is hilarious as a drawling, would-be John Wayne hero who steps into the middle of a supernatural war in the heart of Chinatown. While kung fu warriors and otherworldly spirits battle over the fate of two women (Kim Cattrall and Suzee Pai), Russell's swaggering idiot manages to knock himself out or underestimate the forces he's dealing with. The whole thing is dopey, but it's supposed to be dopey and Russell's game performance brings an ironic edge. Carpenter directs some nifty spook effects (the sudden arrival of three martial arts demigods from out of nowhere is worth applause), and he also wrote the music. --Tom Keogh« less
Chell N. from GRAND RAPIDS, MI Reviewed on 11/25/2010...
All I can say is that it is one of my husband's favorites...lol
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Big Trouble In Little China: Special Edition Rocks!
Mr. | USA | 05/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...People back in 1986 did not understand Big Trouble In Little China. It's the kind of film you either "get" or you "don't get"...They were ahead of their time. Big Trouble In Little China is no different. Basically a Hong Kong action picture with stabs at humor, magic, mysticism and a touch of romance, "Big Trouble" clashed with the heroic heroes of the time... and instead gave us a lead character who's big on talk but usually not good at much else. Kurt Russell's Jack Burton is the type of character with an over-evolved sense of ego that never seems to match his less than perfect grasp of how to deal with real situations. The other difference here is that Jack is not the real hero, it's really Wang Chi(Dennis Dun), who shows us all the great Kung Fu moves and sword fighting styles... Jack Burton is more of the sidekick who thinks he's the head honcho but never seems to do anything right and when he does do something right it's usually because of blind luck. But that's the kind of character Carpenter wanted and he knew Russell would be the best person for the job because he's not afraid to let his hair down and look foolish. Looking tough with smeared lipstick on his face, rolling backwards in a wheelchair screaming or shooting his gun straight up causing small rocks to fall down, knocking him unconscious. No ego is involved with Kurt Russell...
The DVD transfer looks wonderful (widescreen 2.35:1) and even comes with DTS sound which you've got to listen to to believe. As for the special features, the biggest gem on this 2DVD Set is the Audio Commentary by John Carpenter & Kurt Russell. These two have done commentaries before and hinted at doing one for "Big Trouble" during the commentary they did for The Thing (1982). I love listening to these guys! It's just so much fun, it's like being in the room with them and you're just being quiet and listening. Their comments tend to take off from "Big Trouble" and aim more towards where their careers have been, where they're going and how their children are doing in regards to sports and music. Carpenter laments that his son, Cody, can play the keyboard better than he can now and Russell talks about his son, Wyatt winning a hockey championship and how he'd rather see a twenty-something do action films instead of people like himself who are in their fifties (this is him saying this, not me). There's a lot of respect between the two and some hinting that they might work together again soon...I wrote a review about Escape From New York and how I felt it was Carpenter's and Russell's best collaboration out of the five films they've done together. Well on this commentary, Kurt Russell said that working on Escape From New York was the best experience of his career. It would seem we're in agreement. There's also talk about how the styles of directing has changed over the years and how it seems to be going downhill. You need a director who believes in his vision and sticks by it, otherwise you're in for trouble, Big Trouble. Sadly, no mention whether or not they'll do commentaries for Elvis and Escape From L.A.(the only films they haven't made commentaries for), but I'm sure they'd jump at the chance. These guys are such good friends, you can feel it...Carpenter even said he thought "Captain Ron" was Kurt's best performance! I wish the film was twice as long just so I could hear more from them!
The rest of the features are basic: trailers, TV spots, featurette, music video by the Coup De Villes(love Carpenter's low voice!), interviews, still gallery, magazine articles, production notes, cast & director film lists and some interesting deleted scenes, including an extended version of Jack in the Chinese bordello with an added line about the green-eyed girl that's hysterical...The actual ending, however, is still the same. There are even some trailers to Aliens & The Fly hidden on page 2 of the special features section (just click to the left once you're positioned on the Richard Edlund Interview and press "Enter").
This Special Edition rocks and is second only to the collector's edition DVD of The Thing by Universal Pictures. That DVD included a retrospective documentary with most of the original cast & crew returning for a look back. Ennio Morricone's Score is given it's own isolated track during this documentary as well, so those are the main reasons why The Thing is still the best John Carpenter Special Edition DVD out there, but Big Trouble In Little China is very impressive as well. Some of you may be wondering why they couldn't fit all the special features on Disc 1? Well, normally you could, but DTS Sound takes up a lot of room and this is why they had to split it all into a two disc set. So add this Carpenter masterpiece to your collection. It is truly one of his all time bests!
ADDITIONAL BLU-RAY INFO:
I recently bought this film again on Blu-Ray and just had to comment on how nice an upgrade it is. First, I was really impressed with the new transfer. There's so much more detail now in the picture quality, which, while still not perfect, is a vast improvement over the DVD. Second, all of the special features from the out of print 2 disc Special Edition DVD set are all included on the Blu-Ray, along with a wonderful new feature: an Isolated Score audio track for the complete film in 5.1 DTS. This was the first thing I checked out when first popping in the Blu-Ray and I was just blown away by it. It's exactly like having the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack in your possession, with every complete music cue and sequence included and intact (no edits or cuts at all). There are a couple of dead-air spots, where no music was used, but they are brief and don't detract very much at all from the overall listening experience. So if you're thinking about upgrading this fantastic movie to Blu-Ray, my advice is "Go for it." The price for the Blu-Ray is usually very cheap too. Plus, again, if you don't already have the 2 disc special edition DVD, you'll get all of the special features from it on the Blu-Ray, with the added Isolated Score option as well. Check it out!
Big Trouble In Little China - A Cult Classic!
"It's all in the reflexes" - Kurt Russell as Jack Burton
Other recommended Kurt Russell/John Carpenter collaborations: "Elvis: The Movie" DVD (1979) "Escape From New York" DVD (1981) "The Thing" DVD & Blu-Ray (1982) "Escape From L.A." DVD & Blu-Ray (1996) "
Two parts comedy, one part action
Michael Woodsum | Seattle | 03/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director John Carpenter teams with Kurt Russell in this wonderfully unique spoof of the martial arts movie genre, and they hit on all cylinders in a film that is incredibly funny, surprisingly well-crafted, and just plain fun.Russell takes advantage of Gary Goldman and David Weinstein's script to deliver the best comic performance of his career as his swaggering trucker Jack Burton blunders through Chinatown in an attempt to recover his stolen truck and his friend's kidnapped fiancee.Masterminding the badguys is demon/ghost David Lo Pan, played wryly by James Hong. Hong parodies practically his whole career in this role, and has some priceless lines in so doing. His motive in the kidnapping is to marry a girl with green eyes, which will appease his demon-god and restore his lost vitality.The plot grows more absurd and hilarious as the movie progresses and Burton and his companion, Wang (Dennis Dun) enlist the aid of local magician Egg Shen (Victor Wong) to thwart Lo Pan. Russell and Dun are perfectly over-the-top in their deliveries, and they provide constant laughs to propel the movie rapidly along to its conclusion.It is very hard to find someone who doesn't like this movie, and with good reason. The film is so novel and so funny that it can be enjoyed over and over again--a real treasure."
Welcome to the Hell of the Upside-Down Sinners!!
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Critics shredded and diced this movie so I really went to the theatre expecting to see one sick puppy. Instead, I was delighted and I continue to be delighted every time I watch this marvelous movies. John Carpenter created an original howl of a time, with tongue firm planted through the cheek and simply went wild with fun and throw away lines, that will keep you coming back again and again. The Critics just did not get the JOKE!! Sigh...fortunately, the public did not agree. A great cast Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, Kate Burton (Richard's Daughter), Victor Wong and James Hong take several wrong turns and end up in a war - kung fu style - kidnappings and all sorts "some very unreasonable things". Originally the manuscript for the second Buckaroo Banzai movie, Big Trouble hits bulls eye where BB just missed. It's over kill to the max, but such a great way to go as Jack Burton - Russell doing a BAD John Wayne Imitation - runs headlong into the magick underbelly of Chinatown. One critic put down Russell's performance as "was so poor, it was like he was doing a poor John Wayne imitation" WELL, DUH???? Earth to LM!! Russell is taking Dennis Dun to pick up his bride to be, but she is mistakenly snatched. It's up to Russell, Dun, Wong and crew to try and get her back. Instead, they lose Kim Cattral to Hong as well as Burton's Peterbuilt "the Porkchop Express", so old Jack has to get mean.If you don't want to laugh so hard your ribs hurt, you don't enjoy parodies, you don't enjoy bad John Wayne imitations...fine give it a pass. But everyone else wanting a great time, this is one you should not miss!"
Quite simply the greatest movie of all time.
B. Agee | 08/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Over the top statement? You bet your [...] it is. So is this movie. It takes elements of sci-fi, fantasy, kung fu, and even western movies and mashes them up into the most satisfying concoction. Drink up!
"Here's to the Army and the Navy and the battles they have won. Here's to America's colors, the colors that never run. May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather.""
Explodes like a Chinese firecracker
JLind555 | 02/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For non-stop action and entertainment, you can't beat this movie. There is no way any of it could happen in this world, and probably not in the next one, but it's so much fun that we just suspend belief and go along for the ride. And what a ride it is. Our hero, Jack Burton, superbly played by Kurt Russell, and his sidekick, Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), are in a race against time to rescue Wang's girl, a beautiful, green-eyed (huh? ) Chinese immigrant fresh off the plane, who has been kidnapped by the henchmen of a villain named David Lo-Pan, a 2000 year old ghost who must marry a girl with green eyes to restore him to flesh and blood. Along the way, Jack and Wang have to do battle with the Three Storms (thunder, rain and lightning) and a host of nasty bad guys in Lo-Pan's service. By the time Wang's girl is saved from the evil machinations of Lo-Pan, we've been through an incredible roller-coaster ride spiced up with gun-shooting, knife-slinging, things exploding in a ball of green fire, karate chops galore, mid-air swordfighting (yes, these guys actually fly through the air), and a hefty dose of good old black magic. It all adds up to a wild, crazy, hilarious, slambang knockout of a movie experience."